Executive Director of the Regional Security System (RSS) Commodore Errington Shurland is expressing concerns over an increase in gun violence in Caribbean member states.
Speaking at the 40th RSS Council of Ministers’ meeting in Grenada on Wednesday, he said the matter is having a “deleterious” effect on some of these states.
“This violence is taking a rather heavy toll on our societies, not only in respect of loss of life but also with injuries and psychological trauma,” he stated.
To tackle the problem, Shurland is suggesting the application of “hard and soft responses through a whole of society approach.”
“Soft, through constant, positive messaging to our young people with the aid of social development programs that consistently target troubled youth and programs that address issues related to recidivism,” he stated.
Shurland said hard responses include the commitment to put in place the necessary infrastructure to secure borders and to prevent guns from entering the different islands and the region.
He pointed out it is also important for the region to address the issue of corruption in relation to gun violence.
“I say corruption because I believe the only way that these guns can get into our countries is through our borders and through individuals who facilitate such actions,” he remarked.
Shurland pointed that the RSS is looking forward to assist member states in diagnosing crime and security problems through the Regional Crime Observatory.
“We will continue to implement and assist with anti-corruption programs and we will continue to assist and enhance the border security framework through robust assessments and adjustments through the coordinated response model,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister of Grenada and Chairman of the RSS Council of Ministers, Dickon Mitchell, said the easy access to firearms is one of the greatest threats the region currently faces.
He stated that various criminal activities coming from the use of illegal firearms have far-reaching and negative impact on people and the society.
He pointed to recent events in St Lucia and also in Grenada which he said highlights the challenge the region faces in terms of gun violence.
“Even as we speak, the RSS has been deployed to assist the country of St Lucia to assist in restoring order and calm to a section of the country that has recently experienced a spike in gun-related criminal activity,” he stated.
He also pointed to an incident in Grenada which he said took place on Tuesday night where a person was shot execution style.
“I have the sad and unfortunate news of reporting that last night Grenada suffered a gun-related homicide with at least six shots being fired resulting in a fatality,” he said. “A preliminary indication may suggest that this was an execution-style hit and the perpetrator may not have been from Grenada.”
The RSS was formed in October 1982 out of a need for a collective response to security threats.
Presently, the RSS member states include Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
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The gun violence must stop with the currupt police men in the force. Laxy when call on they don’t even come to check the problem.
Criminals know who to terrorize. They leverage their gun carrying advantage to wreak havoc on society. Ilegal gun peddling (and drugs) is a dangerous and growing criminal enterprise and scourge in all nations.
Guns and gun violence have a long history of bring romanticized on and off screen. The old Spaghetti Western movies come to mind. Both law enforcement and military complex agencies rely on guns to press home the advantage in the battle against crime and on the battlefield.
In my subdivision or neighborhood, Old Glory waves proudly from the porches. Many of my neighbors, current and ex law enforcement, have carrier permits and often frequent the local gun ranges. Our doors and garages remain open while other neighborhoods remain under lockdown. Our motto to would be criminals is “enter at your own risk”.
If the United States and other developed nations have been unable to reel in the devastating spread of drugs and gun violence, how can small island states?
Pure hypocrisy. You people know the main courses are linked to the corruption in governments especially in my island Dominica. You are quick to deploy when people gather peacefully for their democratic rights, however you are on podium giving senseless speach instead of taking g action when there is real courses for you to deploy. You law enforcement in the eastern caribbean are just a bunch of hypocrites under an umbrella of corrupt so called politicians .
Oh the hypocrisy to hear those tasked with protecting the public in the sub-region lamenting the fearful state of easy access to guns and ammunition and the bad results that the general public is suffering as a result. Before the acceptance of Marijuana in society the local police forces and the RSS were visibly present trying to take down anyone who was brave enough to be associated with a generally harmless plant. Yet they stood by and allowed the corrupt in our midst to flaunt the existing laws and import and disperse dangerous guns and ammo to those who have nothing much to lose and who spread mayhem in their countries. There aren’t any large-scale gun manufacturing happening in the sub-region so it means that these have to be imported.Where were they stopping the entry of illegal arms?. The same way the US put the onus on other countries to curb the entry of illegal drugs why Don’t the loud mouth proponents of territorial integrity seek the US to stop their products entering.
Meanwhile in Dominica, a minister of the ruling party was on air “hailing up” her snipers, soldiers and navy seals, and this minister was not rebuked by the party.
Are governments of the region involved in arming gangs in the Caribbean? It’s the FOURTH time that i am asking this question.
The present Director of the RSS has said a mouthful. He was quite comprehensive and quite accurate about the gun violence and the possible solutions to it.
However, he did not include one of the main causes of this spike in crime – poverty. Other reasons include, but not limited to, corruption in government at the highest level, lack of parental guidance in the home, the rapidly growing drug culture, the stoicism to death/murder.
As he said, it will take the whole of society to effect a reversal of the present trajectory of this scourge. But how can we bring these fractious societies together when all of these governments practise exclusion like a religion.
I think the genie is already out of the bottle. There has been a cultural shift in the Caribbean and the places were knew growing up are no longer the same as they were before.
We cannot give up, but as you rightly pointed out, if one is mired in poverty and lacking hope, it does not take much of a selling job to convince a misguided youth to follow the path of destruction with promises of a more rewarding and exciting life underpinned by crime.
Exactly right. I hope, by some miracle, we can change the direction of the prevailing, destructive winds. We are nearing a point of no return to civility, harmony, purposefulness. Peace and Love why have you abandoned us?
When you have politicians amd high ranking government officials being pals with known criminals and deviants what else do you expect? Certain groups get special sections in carnival bands, certain man does just enter the fin. center with impunity now. The navy seals and snipers claimed by certain politians, these are the people we should be looking at.
Before this wasnt the case, now we are like Jamaica where politicians have emboldened known criminals for votes.
When it is so easy for criminals to get firearms and law abiding citizens so hard to get a legal firearm what you think will happen you think the criminals going to stop?!